Midsumma Festival 2013

Midsumma Festival 2013

Midsumma Festival 2013

In 2013 Midsumma Festival is celebrating a quarter of a century since its foundation and it does it with a sky-high gala of arts, music, parties and events. Located in the heart of Melbourne, Midsumma is Victoria's premier GLBTIQ arts and culture festival, and this year it takes place from January 13th to February 3rd.

This open-access festival opens on the 13th with Carninal, T Dance and the Gold Party. The Opening Day Events are all centred around Birrarung Marr and Federation Square. The opening starts with the Carnival which is Midsumma's Iconic Opening Picnic & Celebration. The Dance is according to the official website Melbourne's ultimate Queer Outdoor Dance Party, where people can dance and laugh under the sun. The dancing continues in the Gold Party.

After the Opening Day, events include performing arts, visual arts, spoken world, film, music, community events, sporting events and parties. Bent Burlesque is a night full of action with the performance of Australia's best vajazzle razzlers who bring their twisted tease, erratic erotica and Bent Burlesque. Another event called Gaybies is real life stories of children who have been brought up by same-sex parents.

One highlight is HAIR: The Rock Musical. The show brings the love factor to the Midsumma. Hair tells the story of politically active hippies living in NYC during the protests against the Vietnam War. The musical is renowned for its profane depiction of the use of illegal drugs, treatment of sexuality, irreverence for the American flag and the controversial nude scene, states the official website.

Visitors can find delight in adults and family shows, original theatre performances and themed parties. On Saturday 19th, attendees can enjoy the famous Movies Under the Stars, Melbourne Queer Film Festival, which presents four warm and romantic nights of queer film favourites.

Visual Arts Premier Events include Blue and Pink Phenomenon which is an exhibition of Australian Artists who explore the phenomenon of Queer. Also, an outstanding exposition by Yarra Arts titled Energy from Stillness harnesses the strength and imagination from 2 and 3 dimensional artworks to create an exhibition that is truly one of beauty.

Midsumma comes to a close on February 3rd with a Pride March beginning from 2pm in the park, near the corner of Lakeside Drive and Fitzroy St, St Kilda, and finishing in the Catani Gardens.

Even though there are many free events running throughout the festival, some of them request an entrance fee. Tickets can be purchased online, via phone (03 9415 9819), or at the Box Office, located on Ground Floor, 225 Bourke Street, Melbourne).

Gotye tops international music charts in 2012

Gotye tops international music charts in 2012

Gotye tops international music charts in 2012

Perhaps it was the catchy rhythm of his tune or his melancholic lyrics, the fact is that Somebody that I used to know catapulted Australian artist Gotye to the top of the charts of the world last year.

You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness… And we all did… get addicted to the gloomy of his song as it has topped US music download list for 2012, MTV UK most watched videos 2012, and has generally claimed its throne as number one track in Australia, US, UK and many other places in Europe.

Gotye's 2011 single Somebody that I used to know also reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making him the fifth Australian based artist to do so.The singer-songwriter has also been nominated for three Grammy awards, while his album Making Mirrors won him five ARIA awards. The Melbourne-born artist has also received a nomination for an MTV EMA for Best Asia and Pacific Act.

Moreover, according to the Official Charts Company, Somebody that I used to know by Gotye featuring Kimbra –artist from New Zealand- was the biggest-selling UK single last year. The song was downloaded a record 6.8 million times. This happened in a year in which the record for sales of UK singles was broken for the fifth time in a row. 188.6 million singles were bought in 2012, the vast majority of which (99.6%) were bought as digital tracks.

The track also sparked numerous covers that flooded YouTube. A significant cover of the song was the one performed by Walk Off the Earth. In their video, 5 of them play the guitar and take turns to sing the song. The cover video became extremely popular and has garnered several visits on YouTube. Both the official video and the cover by Wall Off the Earth have inspired several parody videos that are all over YouTube.

Sydney Fringe Festival

Sydney Fringe Festival

Arts and spectacle transform Sydney into a parallel universe in Australia's biggest spring party:

The Sydney Fringe Festival

The Fringe is the city's independent festival for the visual and performing arts and it is also the largest alternative visual and performing arts and culture event in NSW. The festival showcases a myriad of disciplines such as arts, film, digital arts, comedy, music, theatre, musical theatre, circus/physical theatre, dance, cabaret, books, kids and family shows, poetry and special events.

The three-week festival challenges the eye of the visitor to take the risk and escape to a world of discovery and adventure, of beauty and oddness, in the form music, comedy, theatre, cabaret, visual arts and burlesque. The festival's disciplines also dance, music, sports, games, film, digital arts, books, poetry, kids and family shows and special events.

As they venture into that fascinating world of the arts, people can also satisfy their palates with food and drinks offered at restaurants and bars located at the venue.

Even though there was a previous Sydney Fringe Festival from 1994 to 2002 in Bondi, the present one follows the festival that commenced in September 2010 in the inner west of Sydney and was conceived as an open-access festival that gives everyone the opportunity to participate.

The Sydney Fringe takes place in multiple locations all over Sydney which include Leichhardt, Parramatta, Oxford Street and the City. Fringe Central –the largest one- covers the Inner West, Inner East and CBD and includes the Newtown/Marrickville/Enmore area, which enjoys the highest concentration of independent theatres and live performances spaces in Sydney and the largest artist population in Australia. Fringe Local takes in all other parts of the city.

The Fringe offers a large number of events. In 2012, 250 events across more than 70 venues took place. There is large number of events that are free, but for the ones that are priced, tickets are usually under AUS$30 and an additional $2.20 booking fee is applied per ticket. These are available to all shows on the official website or by phoning their box office on 9020 6980. If you want to attend, online registration for 2013 will begin in March.

Leap into Dark Shadows

Leap into Dark Shadows

A transoceanic leap into Dark Shadows

Pretty Aussie faces keep flooding Hollywood's screens. Famous directors seem to find Down Under the ideal talent for their particular characters.

A recent discovery may have changed an Australian actress' career forever. The surprise came when legendary director Tim Burton offered newcomer Bella Heathcote a role in his latest film Dark Shadows.

The macabre comedy -an adaptation of popular American soap opera from the 70s- tells the story of the Collins family, whose lives are permanently, altered once their dead relative, Barnabas Collins –a vampire- comes into their lives. After all, every family has its demons.

My name is Barnabas Collins. Two centuries ago, I made Collinwood my home… until a jealous witch cursed me, condemning me to the shadows, for all time, the voice in off starts the movie.

Tim Burton carefully chose the cast to interpret each peculiar, odd character that were really Dark Shadows' material, at the time he tried to find actors who would have a strong chemistry on set, as they are related in the story. Mythical stars in Tim Burton's films such as Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter –Burton's wife- feature in this film. Depp plays the main character, Barnabas Collins, while Helena Bonham Carter plays a secondary humorous role: the alcoholic psychiatrist.

We've done about 15,000 films together, Helena and I, said Johnny Depp. I don't how many times I've killed Helena on films. Tim constantly has me killing his wife in his movies… I wonder what that means.

To play the head of the family, Burton chose Michelle Pfeiffer, whom he worked with in Batman Returns. Catwoman was one of my favourite performances of anybody I've worked with, Burton said.

With this stellar cast, Bella Heathcote's career promises to be outer space, and following Burton's casting, she will most probably appear in his next movies. In Dark Shadows, the 24-yeard old plays two characters: Victoria Winters –the ghostly governess- and Josette Du Press –Barnabas' lost love. Bella looks like a person who has been reincarnated, Tim Burton explained his choice. That is why she was just the right person for Victoria.

Talking about the challenge of interpreting two characters in the same film, Bella explained: I've been fortunate enough that I haven't shot Josette and Vicky on the same day. But it's kind of great, because the look is so different. It makes it a lot easier to play the two separate characters.

He's coming… He's coming… the ghostly figure of Josette alerts Victoria and the plot begins. Bella's characters develop a romantic attachment with Barnabas –Depp- in different centuries. Depp promised Josette they would spend eternity together, but little did he know that his jilted lover was a witch and would compel Josette to jump off a cliff. Josette reincarnates in Victoria and the love story begins once again.

Isabella Bella Heathcote was born in Melbourne and is best known for playing Amanda Fowler on the Australian soap opera Neighbours. She began her career in 2008 and in 2010 was a recipient of a Heath Ledger Scholarship.